Diyala governorate profile, August 2015

Situated on Iraq’s eastern border with Iran, Diyala governorate borders Baghdad. It has a total population of 1,560,021 (excluding Syrian refugees and IDPs) and is one of the most rural governorates in Iraq.

Over the past decade Diyala has received multiple waves of displacement. The February 2006 bombing of the Al-Askari Shia mosque in Samarra city triggered a wave of sectarian conflict that resulted in 8 per cent of the displaced population being driven to Diyala. Since 2013, Diyala has received a new influx of over 121,000 IDPs; in addition, over 193,000 persons originating from the governorate left their homes, seeking safer locations.

In June, armed groups seized control in Jalawla and Saadiyah areas, causing displacement to the centre of Khanaqin, a district reportedly disputed between Diyala and Kurdistan. As a result, Khanaqin held the largest number of IDPs in the governorate, due to stable security in the district centre assured by Peshmerga soldiers deployed to maintain safety.

As a result of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) actions, many areas have been reclaimed, including parts of Al-Maqdoudiya and Al-Khalis districts. This has encouraged many IDPs to return to their properties, although IOM reported many houses damaged during the continuing violence. Also troubling is that kidnappings and assassinations by unidentified persons have reportedly been spreading in Ba’quba district.

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